Strictly Come Dancing makes history as John Whaite and Johannes Radebe become first all-male pairing

John Whaite (L) and Johannes Radebe pose for their Strictly promotional picture

Strictly Come Dancing‘s first all-male pairing has been officially announced – and John Whaite is ready to “inspire young people”.

Popping out of a towering glittery cake, Johannes Radebe was revealed Saturday evening (18 September) for the launch show as being paired with the hunky Great British Bake Off winner.

The South African professional dancer, who is openly gay, has previously hit the ballroom with Catherine Tyleskey and Caroline Quentin.

Now, he’ll be getting ready to do the tango with Whaite to the tune of New Order’s “Blue Monday” as their first dance.

“When I saw it was a big sparkly cake, I thought, ‘oh, come on it’s got to be Johannes’,” Whaite said on the show. “And when he popped out of it, I’m blown away.”

He told Radebe that it “means the world” that they have been doubled up to make Strictly history as its first all-male couple in 17 years.

“It’s a massive honour this,” he added, “it really is.”

John Whaite says Strictly same-sex couple is ‘something the LGBTQ+ community needs’

Speaking to PA, Whaite, 32, said that he hopes the dance partnership will help give young queer youth the kind of representation he so needed growing up

“It’s a case of inspiring young people to not feel afraid or ashamed of who they are,” he said.

“It’s as simple as that, really. When I was growing up, I think if I’d seen two women or men dancing on a Saturday night on a mainstream channel, I think I’d have grown up with quite so much shame.”

Agreeing, Radebe said that he appreciates how “fast” the BBC One show has come in terms of representation in recent years. “It just makes me feel proud to be part of the show,” the 34-year-old said.

Whaite added: “It is something the LGBTQ+ community needs. We have to have it because it’s representation of true life.

“It’s not about flag-flying, it’s not about shouting from the rooftops. It’s about saying this is a reflection of reality. There are gay people in the world, there are straight people in the world, and we live harmoniously.

“And the more that we can just represent that on mainstream TV, the less people will question it, because why should it be questioned anymore, you know?

“We’re just living and loving and laughing, aren’t we?”